So the sun stood still in the middle of heaven, and hurried not to go down.... Joshua 10:13 (KJV) Friday afternoon, as the last kids left the building, the intercom spoke unto me: Please note that the clocks have been reset. Although the clocks read 4:57 it is now really 3:57. Our clocks have been reset for Monday morning when Daylight Saving Time is in effect. I detest Daylight Saving Time. Just when we get to that point in the year when I can wake to sunlight and the busy birds, and then sing “Oh What a ...


Education Week, sister publication of Teacher Magazine, featured Chester Finn 's "Lessons Learned" on the Commentary page last week. Mr. Finn, known to his fellow alums of Phillips Exeter Academy (and most of the world) as "Checker," is usually styled as an “education guru” because he is a Hoover Institute Fellow and President of The Fordham Foundation where he contributes regularly to The Education Gadfly. For something like three decades, he has been more than willing to explain to people in positions of power exactly what is wrong with public education. It’s nice to know that he has learned ...


Ten years ago I was sitting around the table with my fellow PTA Board members discussing the lack of communication between parents and children. Someone brought up a piece of research on the correlation between family dinner time and student success. One mother of three agreed that she thought family meals were important, but bemoaned the complications of working around the schedules of her kids. “I think I’m going to buy a Winnebago," she said. "I’ll just load up the crockpot, and we can have family dinner in back in between soccer practice, ballet, or scouts or wherever ...


Al Kamen wasn’t writing about education in his column in The Washington Post last Wednesday. The topic was climate change and its impact on fossil fuel and alternative energy policy. Interesting, if not riveting, but Kamen got my undivided attention with this quote from Energy Alert, a newsletter distributed to petroleum industry clients by their lobbying firm: “Remember, if you're not at the table, you're on the menu." If you're thanking your lucky stars that as a teacher you are immune from this kind predatory policy powerplay, wake up and smell the coffee or you just might be the ...


I popped the CD that my TLN friend and colleague, Nancy Flanagan, had sent me into the player in my car and the mellow a capella voices of Sweet Honey from the Rock began to sing “On Children”: Your children are not your children, They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.The words took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes. As a mother of young adult children, I have experienced the difficulty of letting go. But at 57, I also accept that letting go is as it should be and that it ...


The Fairfax County Schools Snow Day Storm may sound like a tempest in a teapot, but snow days are a big deal up here in Northern Virginia where stay-at-home moms are rare, commutes are long, traffic is horrific, and snow is too infrequent to justify heavy public investment in snow removal equipment. Thursday, January 17, was school transportation’s worst nightmare -- morning temperatures below freezing and rising into the high 30’s by the middle of the day, with snow starting around morning rush hour and ending sometime in the early afternoon. In the pre-dawn hours, after consulting with ...


Mama Cass recorded “Make Your Own Kind of Music” back in 1969. I was nineteen. Joe Holmes must be about the same age today. Some things hold across generations. In his column in the youth section of the Free Lance Star, Joe writes, "We don’t consider it the “goal” of a song to get to the end." Titled, Formative Years Shouldn’t be Squandered on ‘Preparation he supports his premise by observing The late teens and early 20s are the basket where almost all of natural selection's eggs lie. We are at the peak of our vitality, at our ...


It’s funny how one thing leads to another. I’ve been questioning whether college preparation should be the primary goal of high schools, so Kevin Bushweller’s January 9 Motivation Matters blog: Comparing American, Chinese, and Indian Students, caught my attention when Kevin wrote The economic benefits of being highly educated and having a "safe" career seem to be major motivators for the students in India and China, but not for the Americans. And that led to Andrew Trotter’s article, Film Depicts China, India Besting U.S. in Schooling, about Two Million Minutes … an independent documentary film. The ...


The Emperor in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale, The Emperor’s New Suit, parades naked through the street as the court and the people admire his non-existent finery. “But he has nothing on at all,” said a little child at last. “Good heavens! listen to the voice of an innocent child,” said the father, and one whispered to the other what the child had said. “But he has nothing on at all,” cried at last the whole people. That made a deep impression upon the emperor, for it seemed to him that they were right; but he thought to himself, “Now...


Before I got distracted by chimps who are arguably smarter than college students (as determined by the single measure of the ability to sequence randomly placed numerals), I was questioning the disconnect between the public concern that young people lack financial literacy, and a public education policy that insists on rhetorical mathematics at the expense of applied mathematics. Consumer Math just doesn’t have the resumé cachet of Trigonometry, and it seems our high schools are more concerned about preparing kids for college than preparing them for life. My question from two weeks ago is back on the table: Your ...


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