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the shame of the nation

In Jonathan Kozol’s earlier books, I’d already been appalled by the horrible physical condition of schools serving nonwhite populations. And, in The Shame of the Nation, we see that too: In the years before I met Elizabeth, I had visited many elementary schools in the South Bronx and in one northern district of the Bronx […]

feeling quiet

I would seem to be in a quiet mood these days. Not feeling much like blogging, not feeling much like programming at home. Maybe because I’ve been programming a fair amount at work; I was worried that, with the new larger group, I’d have almost no programming time, but now that things have settled down […]

patty cake

I saw four kids playing patty cake on the playground at school last week. I hadn’t realized that you could do that with more than two people: basically, whenever you would clap the other person’s left hand, you instead clap the left hand of the person to your right, and whenever you would clap the […]

playground scene

During recess at school today, I saw three kids playing together. One of them was a kindergarten girl from Miranda’s class; another was a first-grade boy from Miranda’s class. The third was an older boy (fourth-grade, maybe?) whom I didn’t know; I kind of think I might have seen him at a PACT function, but […]

homework

Last year, Miranda had a couple of pieces of homework each weekend: the red bookbag, where we were supposed to read some books to her and she was supposed to draw and write about them, and the yellow folder, where she was supposed to read to us. This year, the red bookbag continued, but the […]

end of school year

Yesterday was the last day of Kindergarten. Very sad (well, not very sad, but certainly poignant): no more Wednesday mornings in classrooms, I won’t see the other kids and parents for a few months, and even once next year starts, I won’t see the current first-graders much at all. And Sue Lampkin, Miranda’s fabulous teacher, […]

alfie kohn on john holt

I heard back from Alfie Kohn in response to my question about John Holt and homeschooling. His anwser was that he likes a lot of what Holt said, especially in his earlier works, but he wouldn’t go as far as Holt and recommend homeschooling for two reasons: Public schools are an important democratic institution, one […]

alfie kohn

I went to a couple of talks by Alfie Kohn this week. I’ve been a big fan of his ever since I ran into an article of his in the Emacs distribution back when I was in college. His book No Contest was a big influence on my teaching when I was a grad student […]

miranda cooking

For the last month or so, Miranda’s been really into helping out with cooking dinner. I’m not quite sure what triggered it; part of it, I suspect, is that with her current bed time, she doesn’t get to spend much time with us in the evenings, and the best way to maximize that time is […]

school closure: one more year

The board finally voted last night. Actually, they voted on two things: they changed their vote of a month ago, and agreed to not close any school this year. And they voted on which school they would close next year: they’ll close Slater (my daughter’s school), PACT will move to Castro, but the rest of […]

school closure: second castro meeting

Another meeting at Castro last night. Not too much excitement in the community comments. I did admire (?) the chutzpah of a certain group of parents in the dual immersion program who talked about how horrible it was to close a school in that community, and then floated a plan which would turn the school […]

school closure: castro community forum

At the last school board meeting about school closure, they put forward a plan where the school to be closed would be Castro instead of Slater. (The latter being the school that Miranda goes to.) They wanted to give Castro parents time to complain about this, so they’re holding a couple of community forums at […]

school closure: not done yet

I was sure that the school board was going to make a final vote on the school closure issue last Wednesday. The school board, however, has managed to surprise me at every other meeting on the issue; I don’t know why I expected anything different this time. They did vote to close a school. Which, […]

school closure, continued

The school closure saga continues, and it gets stranger every week. Two weeks ago, I liked the school board but was mad at the superintendent. Last week, I was mad at everybody: the school board was just letting the superindentent and her staff talk, without (largely) seriously questioning any aspect of the report and its […]

school closure

The full report of the school closure task force came out last Tuesday, so I’ve been busy writing to the school board, and I spent almost six hours at the school board meeting last night. I actually was pretty impressed by a lot of things that I saw there. Members of the public (including your […]

not the best week

Thursday, a week and a half ago, we had our monthly classroom meeting (for Miranda’s kindergarten class). And we learned that Miranda’s school is probably going to be closed next year. It was public knowledge that one school was going to be closed, but I had kind of been in denial over the issue – […]