I would like to thank  @christianlong on twitter for encouraging me to write this post.  I have meant to start blogging about teaching and this was just the push I needed.  There is an interesting chopped up documentary on youtube here.  The documentary is about the intense competition for the elite private schools in Manhattan that all the wealthy kids go to school.   I do not want to summarize or paraphrase Christian’s ideas here. I am not even sure Christian disagrees with me.  But I really get upset when people suggest that the NYC education system is the problem while systematically undercutting to NYC education system at the same time. Which this documentary film does.  If all the students who got into the Prep schools featured in the Prep school video went to their local primary school, they would right away improve the test scores of those schools. There are deeper issues involved though beyond test scores.  I am not suggesting that we judge a school, district or system on test scores alone.  When the richest and more intelligent students leave a system like NYC public schools we have undermined the goal of a public education system.  Bright students not only raise test scores they bring other students up as well.  They are examples of the desire to learn for other students.  These bright students challenge their peers to reach further.  They show students that it is possible for all of them to achieve their best.  These bright and wealthy students bring engaged parents with them too.  Strong PTAs advocating for all students education.   Separate these bright and wealthy students out and we have two education systems.  And the Supreme Court already ruled on that.

For the creation of wealth, then,—for the existence of a wealthy people and a wealthy nation,—intelligence is the grand condition. The number of improvers will increase as the intellectual constituency, if I may so call it, increases. In former times, and in most parts of the world even at the present day, not one man in a million has ever had such a development of mind as made it possible for him to become a contributor to art or science…. Let this development proceed, and contributions . . . of inestimable value, will be sure to follow. That political economy, therefore, which busies itself about capital and labor, supply and demand, interests and rents, favorable and unfavorable balances of trade, but leaves out of account the elements of a wide-spread mental development, is naught but stupendous folly. The greatest of all the arts in political economy is to change a consumer into a producer; and the next greatest is to increase the producing power,—and this to be directly obtained by increasing his intelligence. For mere delving, an ignorant man is but little better than a swine, whom he so much resembles in his appetites, and surpasses in his power of mischief…. ( Horace Mann )

Even in the early 1800’s Mann understood the ability of human capital to create new capital.  Mann’s goal for universal education and influence still resonates with me.  Creating charter schools in instead of fixing the public system.  Prep schools draining the most advanced kids.  This is not the vision of Mann.

Teaching is direct action for the change we want to see in our neighborhood. This is one of the main reasons I became a teacher.  Its one of the reasons why I continue to challenge myself to be a better teacher.  Teaching is a craft.  I want to spend the rest of my life honing that craft.  I really am excited to be in education now.  Its getting the attention that it deserves.  More than ever before educators are connecting on a grassroots, organic way.  This, I hope, is the change in education we need.  I hope to flesh out more of my thoughts and experiences in future posts.  Let me know what you think in the comments.


Jesus was my co-pilot

March 16, 2009

What would the carbon footprint be if jesus was always by my side. Dragging the son of god must affect my gas millage.


March 15, 2009

Baseball season is fast aproaching. This time of the year many of us will be starting up our rival fantasy seasons. I wish the internets good luck as i plan on crushing all who oppose.



January 20, 2009

Congratulations to US!

Its been a while since I wrote anything on this blog.  Not that anyone noticed cause no one reads this thing except Russian Spam bots.  i have a couple of idea brewing and will post them up as soon as possible.  I recently got a position as a Social Studies teacher in Brooklyn.  I am so excited about that!

Other things on my radar are:

  1. Surfing
  2. Bicycles
  3. relational Databases and LAMP
  4. Obama
  5. Spending money I don’t have on stuff I could do without

I have been thinking( dangerous in itself) lately about a number of things.

  • The idea of the singularity.
  • The internet as a database.
  • How will we access that data
  • all objects being connected with the internet
  • the iPhone (of course)
  • web apps
  • LAMP html xml mysql ruby on rails etc.
  • Adobe AIR
  • Microsoft silverlight
  • mozila PRISM
  • ubiqitous broadband ( wireless especially)

I had all those things floating around in my head and realized that the way we interact with the internet, including reading it might be very different from how we view it now ( static pages access through a browser). we now have memory cards that you can put into your digital camera, and they will upload your photos to flickr( or what ever site you wish to host them). you cant browse the internet on the camera. you can’t email the image to a friend or family member from the camera. Just a dumb device that interacts with the camera and the internet.

The browser is a great way to display text and graphics from the internet on a laptop and or a desktop. But inclreasingly we will access the internet from small screens like our cell phones. On the iPhone you can build web apps that can be saved as icons onto the iPhone screen. When the 2.0 software upgrade comes out those apps will do away with the browser bar and go full screen. To normal users the difference between that web app and an installed app on the iPhone will not be obvious.

So when the internet become apart of everything, with two way streets of information flowing, will we still days things like, ” I need to get on the internet”.  Or will we be able to recall just the information we need using one of many devices to connect us to the vast sea of information out there.

Subbie 2.0

February 23, 2008

I own a Subaru Forester. It is the best car I have ever owned. Its small and fast. Yet it can swallow up anything I try to put in it. Great for a weekend getaway with my wife or a trip to the beach or camping. Like most Subaru owners I love this car. I proselytize this car to other people thinking of buying a new car.
That being said, Subaru needs to change a few things when the sad day comes and i need to let go of Subie.
The interior seats need an upgrade for longer rides. My wife and I are tall and we cant find a comfortable position in the front seats. Keep the heated seats. I love me some heated seats.
The cup-holders need to be moved to the floor. I have spilled too much coffee on my center console on these pull out cup holders than I have drank. Thankfully this is already done in newer models. Move the radio up on the Center console. Make the A/C heating controls auto and dual climate. Like my mom says, “Nothing saves a marriage like dual climate control”.
Make the radio an HD radio and one CD input. include an ipod audio. power/controls jack and a place to stash the ipod.
I have an auto dimming rearview mirror with a compass in it. Ditch the compass because it doesn’t work and I’ll have a GPS receiver by then anyway. Include a place to plug in the GPS receiver.
Heads up display of speed and fuel and RPM would be perfect.
The engine needs to be hybrid. I know Subaru talk a big game about Subaru loving the environment and your low impact factory, but $50 dollars to fill up my 4 cylinder car is hurting big time and Toyota and Honda have options for small box wagons too. Its a 2001 car, I should not be getting 20mpg. I suggest you go all electronic on the “Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive System”. If you put 4 electric motors at the wheels you save space in the center drive train as well as weight for two differentials. Plus the weight is moved out to the wheels which make this car even more balanced. Some guys in England did this to a Mini, you can do it to Subie.
Exterior. I own a Subaru. I don’t care about the exterior. But please use a wind tunnel to reduce drag. Sometimes I feel like most of the gas goes to fighting the drag my brick on wheels creates.
If you could put two more seats in the trunk without increasing the length of the car then go for it.
The back door needs a redo. When I have my surfboard on the rack. I cannot open the trunk.
This needs to change. I suggest that you make the rear window a retractable one into the rear door like Toyota does with the Land Cruiser

The other day I made frozen waffles for my wife. On one side they were crispy and almost burnt and on the other side they were still a little soggy. It is not my toaster, its all toasters. They suck. Thats when I thought to my self, “I wish Apple made a toaster”. Not because I am such a big Apple fan, but because Apple makes products that work. Apple cares about the user experience.
Its been a bumpy and long rode for a company that brought us the personal computer. but Apple is slowly show other companies what the future might be. Recently Apple introduced itunes on the iphone and ipod touch. This is the first time you do not have to us a PC or Mac to get songs on your ipod. Like my Nokia e70. I do not have to tether it to get a new program on it. i can download and install over the air. The internet will find a way into every device we own. this two way conversation between people and people, between people and devices, and between devices and devices is the future.
maybe in the future i can get a toaster that works perfectly every time.

No laptop, No fun

November 13, 2007

A couple of weeks ago my laptop stopped working. It just stopped turning on. So I sent it to the Little Laptop shop in the LES. There it sat a whole weekend, alone. The techie called me on Monday to report the sad news that the problem was the motherboard. A hard to find $450 part that wasn’t worth it for a laptop this old.
I was sad. The laptop had been invaluable to me over the past year. I took class notes, read email and RSS feeds on it. Wrote reports. Used it for PowerPoint presentations while Student teaching 7th and 8th graders. Watched movies on it with my wife. Good times good times indeed.
Being away from my laptop , and using other machines, made me realize how personal computing has become. I felt at home on that Thinkpad. I had moved in and done all the interior decorating. Everything was where I wanted it. Firefox was bling’d out.
There is a good ending to this story. I gave it to my brother and he turned it on. He didn’t even do anything to it either. It just worked again. My laptop, resurrected from the dead. Now hes backing up the data and installing Unbutu on a dual boot. I hope he gives it back soon, cause i miss my baby.
laptop sical boot. I hope he gives it back soon, cause i miss my baby.

 Journalism Class
Thats a lot of macs. There is a kid in the bottom right with a PC. While PC’s and Windows hold court in the business world, Macs have become the de-facto tool of the Cultural Creatives. Or maybe this just means that the “The Network Is The Computer”.
found via