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.



January 20, 2009

Congratulations to US!

I’m Back

September 19, 2007

Ok so I haven’t posted anything in a while and this WordPress Theme needs some work. I am back though and ready to find good links and stuff to say.

I need sliding doors!  Mmmm tools.

Russ is the Man!!!

May 14, 2007

Thomas Barnett

April 10, 2007

Who is this guy? link

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This post has been sitting here waiting for something for too long:

I have toiled and grinded out the last 6.5 years working for one of the most respected companies in the world. What can be said about moving on. Adios Amigos. On Friday February 23rd 2007 I will put on the FedEx uniform for the last time. I will Scan and VAN and POD packages for the last time. I will look at my watch at 10:25 am for the last time. I will climb a 3 floor walk up for the last time. I will argue over who takes which package for the last time. I will double park, illegally park and not pay the meter …for the last time. No more hot summer days with a truck interior temperature of 118 F. No more Slushy, cold , windy days. No more “Oh I don’t sign for that” bullshit. None of it.

I have to say that FedEx has done me pretty good for those six very long years. I had a part -time job with health and pension benefits. FedEx paid for some of my undergrad college tuition. I used the FedEx flight benefits to travel. I even shipped stuff for real cheap.

A co-worker of mine said to me the other day that there are assholes everywhere you work. and I have to agree with him. Even in my career choice of teaching Social Studies there will be principals and co-workers who do not make my life easier. In fact they will frustrate me to no end. That being said, I will be happier, so much happier, because of the goal I have in my job. Not to line the pockets of Fred Smith, or increase the value of the stocks of the shareholders of the Company, but to educate the kids of this Country. I do have a some what idealized view of how cool it will be to teach everyday. But it is such a noble goal, that I feel that the toils and hardships that come with it will be worth the extra effort.

Tells it like it is.  Damn these corporate Capitialist who will eat their own, just to get a little richer.
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It seems that there is  a little blog-meme going on  that T-mobile is not going to allow the download of third party apps onto their customers phones.  Man these Telcos really don’t get it.  Yea, in the short term they get more revenue from forcing people to buy apps through T-Zones, but how can one corporation predict the needs of all their customers? My brother just downloaded the gmail app for his e62.  He would not have gotten the data plan if not for the app. The internet and broadband connection exploded because third parties made content and applications that the end user found useful and worth the extra money.  If Road-runner did not allow a specific web-app (gmail, 30boxes) on its network, would it keep its customers?  I don’t think so.  T-Mobile has an opportunity to become the open cell platform in the U.S.A. This is a step backwards.

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