Archive for January 2012 | Monthly archive page

The Achievement Gap and Teacher Training

Note: The tone of this post is a little more serious and it has no very little swearing. I know that will turn some people off, and I apologize. Under normal circumstances, analogies between teachers and doctors trigger in me a powerful, irresistible gag reflex. I hate reading about how we both have a practice, for example. However, I have found a place where the analogy between teachers and doctors makes sense, but only if we proceed seriously and follow where it leads. Be warned. It Read more [...]

Animal Farm, revisited

I had the best conversation with my wife last night. She had just finished reading Animal Farm for her book club. She hadn’t read it before, maybe because she’s from Poland. (Animal Farm is the allegorical tale of the Russian Revolution and Stalin’s rise to power in the Soviet Union as told through the lives of talking farm animals in England. Written by George Orwell and published in 1945. The whole book is online and free here.) I have read this book probably 20 times. I taught this book Read more [...]

Review of MAKING THE GRADES by Todd Farley

Todd Farley, author of Making the Grades: My Misadventures in the Standardized Testing Industry (PoliPoint Press, 2009) leads us through a world that is at once outside of teaching and its very lifeblood. Our Dark Lord. In Making the Grades, Farley chronicles his 15-year rise through the standardized testing industry (STI); from lowly day-scorer to muckity-muck with a big expense account to high-paid consultant. In 1994, Farley started scoring written tests for $7.75/hour in Iowa City, IA. Read more [...]

Waiting for Superman to Fix All These Shitty Parents

Herein you will find Part II of my review of the blockbuster film Waiting For Superman. Part I can be found here. Part II of the review first appeared, in more or less this form, as a guest post at White Group Mathematics. At a certain level, it makes no difference whether parents are willfully negligent, stupid, or genuinely incapable of being good parents due to forces beyond their control. At the end of the day, you’re just a shitty parent and other people have to deal with your kids. They Read more [...]

…And We’re Back…

Heavy sighs all around. Everybody is back to work now. Including me, in my own way. My kids started back at school today. I considered doing a post before break was over about the angst of waiting to come back to school; the night sweats, panic attacks, crying, depression, cursing fits, plans to fake one’s own death and self-medication that had been the hallmarks of my reentry into the classroom after a long break. I have written before about the anxiety of coming back as well as about one Read more [...]