Dec 12 2012

The Best Article About Homework I’ve Ever Read

The best article about homework that I’ve ever read, and probably the best one ever written, is in the December 17, 2012 issue of The New Yorker, written by Louis Menand.

It begins:

Here is something you probably didn’t know about France: its President has the power to abolish homework.

Nice, right?

And lest you think that le President de la France is doing this to appease the parents who proclaim homework to be history’s greatest education monster:

[French President] M. Hollande, however, is not a progressive educator. He is a socialist. His reason for exercising his powers in this area is to address an inequity. He thinks that homework gives children whose parents are able to help them with it—more educated and affluent parents, presumably—an advantage over children whose parents are not. The President wants to give everyone an equal chance.

Sounds reasonable. If nothing else it’s a different perspective on the so-called homework wars.

As with most education issues, it’s not that simple. Read the whole article, it’s worth it.

Louis Menand: The End of Homework? : The New Yorker

May 22 2012

Students Have To Re-take SATs Because Proctors Screwed Up

Imagine you took your SATs. Thought you did pretty well. No matter what you’re probably relieved that the test is over.

Now imagine you have to re-take the test. Not because you did anything wrong. Because the proctors screwed up. Read more »

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May 22 2012

Well That’s Frustrating

From a New York Times article about a program to raise money for private school scholarships, a frustrating series of quotes. Here’s one: Read more »

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Mar 23 2012

Why Are We Still Debating The Benefits of Bilingualism?

Speaking Klingon does not count as a second language.

I’m not going to bother reading this New York Times essay titled The Benefits of Bilingualism.

Why not? First of all, I’m busy. Second, I’d rather write this post and I really am kinda busy right now. Third, and most important, I truly cannot believe that there are people in the world who don’t understand that it is a good idea to know how to speak more than one language. (And Klingon doesn’t count. Sorry.) Read more »

Jul 05 2011

Tip: Don’t Let Your Kids Go To Film School

The Portable Film School book

Is it time to go back to past generation dreams of “my son, the doctor”? (Or daughter. Past generations could be a tad sexist.) Not sure about that, but we do have a tip for parents: don’t let your kids go to film school.

That’s the impression one gets from an article in today’s New York Times. Film school applications are way up, but jobs in the industry are way down. In fact, Read more »

Mar 15 2011

Interview With Wisconsin Parent Involved in Protests

Here is my interview with Jen, a Wisconsin parent who has been involved in the growing protest movement.

Listen to internet radio with Brett Singer on Blog Talk Radio

Some of the points that Jen made were:

– The protests have been peaceful and non-violent. According to her, the police have actually thanked protesters for behaving so politely. On Saturday, there were no arrests.

– The crowds have been getting bigger. News reports put the number at 100,000, which she says is “the largest gathering in Wisconsin state history”, and may even be the largest labor rally in United States history. “Even Fox News” said there were 100,000 people there on Saturday, she said. Jen questioned why the Tea Party rallies, which were not as well attended, received non-stop news coverage.

– According to Jen, the protests are being attended by people of all ages and social classes. The farmer’s union drove tractors to the Wisconsin State Capital building on Saturday. The police and firefighters have expressed support for their fellow public workers, despite the fact that Governor Walker made them exempt from the new “no collective bargaining” bill.

Jen is a parent who started going to the Wisconsin State Capitol building protests to support her kids’ teachers, who are, of course, public workers. According to her, the protests will continue every day, and the big rallies are usually on Saturday.

You can listen to the interview here, or subscribe to the Brett Singer podcast via iTunes. We hope to be able to talk to Jen again to get an idea of what’s happening on the ground in Wisconsin.

Dec 15 2010

Father Sues To Block NYC Schools Chancellor Pick

From NY1, the story of a dad who decided to use his lawyering powers for good:

Eric Snyder is a lawyer with two kids in the public school system. In his lawsuit, he says the waiver granted to Black by State Education Commissioner David Steiner was illegal because the law states the chancellor must have a master’s degree.
Black needed the waiver because she has no educational background.

Black (who is white, which isn’t relevant but we couldn’t resist) was appointed by Mayor Mike Bloomberg. You remember him. He’s still the mayor of New York, despite the fact that he wasn’t legally able to run for a third term because the people of New York voted for term limits. Twice. But he convinced the City Council to make an exception. Sound familiar?

Snyder sued New York over that one too. He lost. He’ll probably lose this time as well, although maybe not. I like that Snyder is doing this. I wouldn’t, because I don’t do stuff like that and even if I did, it feels like tilting at windmills. Even if that’s true, part of me is glad that there are still some modern day Don Quixotes out there.

Father Launches First Legal Battle Against Schools Chancellor Pick –