November 2007 Archives

Okay, the last out-of-town guests have gone home. On Sunday night we finished up the turkey leftovers. But I’m not quite through with Thanksgiving. In the pantheon of American holidays, it seems to be trapped between two hulking neighbors, Halloween and Christmas. The new power player is Halloween, which was once a few hours of sweating behind a dime-store mask, collecting candy from the houses on your street. These days Halloween merchandise replaces the Back to School aisle around the second week of September. On November 2, the 50 percent-off sale is over and the Halloween aisle gives way ...

Or is it an assessment? Assessing and testing issues are on my mind a lot lately. They’ve been hot topics at school, on the Web, in Education Week and around the dinner table at our two-teacher home. But this brain dump is not brought on by first-quarter grades and the parent conferences we are having tonight at my middle school. You may think that I’m going to talk about No Child Left Behind , but I’m not. Nor is this about the recent release of National Board for Professional Teaching Standards assessment scores, or the new “Trial Urban ...

Today, Tuesday, November 6, was Election Day and since our schools are also our polling places, there were no classes. For about three weeks we’ve been courted with full color glossy mail pieces and inundated with recorded phone messages. Every night candidates, with their children or grandchildren in their arms and the family dog at their side, smile benignly from the TV screen. They promise that they understand my concerns and their interest in my welfare is sincere. You will be encouraged to know that every candidate has assured me and my fellow voters that Education is a top ...

The headline reads “Fashion Bullies Attack—In Middle School.” An article from Seventeen Magazine? NEA Journal?. No, this piece appeared in last Thursday’s Wall Street Journal. The article quotes Dorothy Espelage, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Illinois and expert on bullying, as saying: “Having access to designer clothing affords some kids "the opportunity to become popular--and that protects you and gives you social power and leverage over others." Why does this surprise us when What Not to Wear, a popular television show, features fashion bullying as entertainment? Just in case you’ve missed it, each ...


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